ComplexCon Expands Festival With L.A. and Long Beach Eateries

In light of the COVID pandemic, which hit the restaurant industry hard, Complex waived vendor fees for local restaurants

ComplexCon—the massive convention that celebrates the intersection of fashion, music, pop culture, sports, art, and food—is making its way back to the Long Beach Convention Center this weekend.

The two-day event (Nov. 6-7) is jam packed with an array of unique experiences including a marketplace where attendees will be able to purchase exclusive merchandise and surprise drops, a performance from A$AP Rocky who will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his beloved mixtape Live. Love. A$AP, and a diverse food festival within the event known as the “First We Feast Lagoon.”

While there’s a heightened emphasis on the expansive shopping, music, and art activations at the all-day event, it’s also worth checking out the First We Feast Food experience, which will feature some of Los Angeles and Long Beachs’ most buzzworthy and cult-favorite restaurants. Plus, you gotta eat, right?

For the fifth annual event, Complex has teamed up with food culture agency Care of Chan to curate the selection of eateries, which range from local favorites to immigrant-owned businesses and homegrown food concepts born before and during the pandemic, said Sue S. Chan, the founder of Care of Chan. In light of the challenging year the restaurant industry experienced due to the COVID pandemic, Complex has also waived the fees for the restaurants to participate at ComplexCon. (Foods vendors will be able to keep all of their profits from the event as well.)

“This year it felt more vital than ever to put a spotlight on spots like Bridgetown Roti and Kuya Lord that represent the vibrancy and resiliency of the L.A. food scene,” said Chris Schonberger, General Manager and Executive Producer of First We Feast. “The showroom floor at ComplexCon is also such a sensory overload experience that you need a place to sit outside, relax, and eat great food—we love working with great vendors to provide that oasis amid the madness.”

Among the participating restaurants is the 2020-born Italian-style deli Ggiata Delicatessen, L.A.’s Instagram-worthy creamery Afters Ice Cream, Malibu’s Broad Street Oyster Co. which will also be at Los Angeles Magazine’s Food Event next week, and Long Beach’s New Orleans-style Fluffy’s Sno-Balls.

The “First We Feast Lagoon” will also include activations throughout the weekend including a pop-up from First We Feast’s hit show Hot Ones, which will be debuting their “Hot Ones Boneless Chicken Bites,” available at select Walmart stores later this year. Attendees will also be able to get the real “Hot Ones” experience just like the celebrities on the show as they’ll get to taste the chicken bites along with the official Hot Ones sauces.

Sweet Chick—the Fairfax-based chicken and waffles hotspot from Brooklyn—will also be unveiling their latest footwear collaboration with the iconic Clarks shoe brand. They will be hosting a scavenger hunt for a pair of custom Wallabees created by Dominic Chambrone, also known as the “Shoe Surgeon” on the ComplexCon grounds.

“We wanted to launch our collaboration in a unique way and the return of ComplexCon this November provided the perfect stage to unveil our new design with Sweet Chick in a series of creative activations from the custom food truck,” said Tara McRae, Clarks Chief Marketing Officer. “The timing worked out perfectly with our LA tour ending right at ComplexCon.”

The 100 percent vegan fast food restaurant Beleaf Burgers is also bringing their plant-based collaboration with Trill Burger, founded by Houston rap legend Bun B who will be on-site serving fresh vegan burgers off the grill.

Additionally, Sesame Dinette—the new Long Beach eatery from L.A. Chinatown’s superette—is teaming up with Vietnamese-American chef and Tik Tok food star Tway Nguyen for an exclusive menu and First We Feast’s Burger Scholar Sessions will curate a special menu item prepared by host George Motz.

Other participating food vendors include All Flavor No Grease, Kuya Lord, Señoreata, Katsu Sando, Fat Sal’s, Little Coyota, Milk Bar, Perilla LA, and more.

“Everybody eats, and food is a great starting point for any conversation—whether it’s about where the food came from, why someone made it, or something seemingly unrelated to what’s on the plate,” Schonberger told Los Angeles ahead of the event. “First We Feast has always been a sponge for the other parts of pop culture that brands like Complex, Sole Collector, and Pigeons & Planes are so deeply rooted in, so for us, it’s the ultimate place to celebrate the power of food to connect all the different scenes that come together in one place for ComplexCon weekend.”

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